shutterstock_191461325Many Americans use them interchangeably, but the truth is that patios and decks are two very different things. Let’s go over why.

A deck is almost always made out of wood or similar material (i.e. vinyl or a material made from composite wood). They can either be standing on their own or actually attached to your house. They are traditionally made for the purpose of enjoying a great view.

Not all decks are the same: they come in different levels, and railings are often necessary. If they are maintained the right way, they should stay comfortable enough to lie down on (without a pillow).

Most people don’t know that the word “patio” actually has its roots in Spanish. It’s a word that literally translates to “courtyard,” but we have taken and used to mean something a little different. Unlike a courtyard, our version of patios doesn’t have to have walls surrounding them.  They are usually in an open space – like an actual courtyard.

Like decks, patios can be either detached or connected to your house. Instead of being built with a view in mind, they are usually designed to fit the landscape. They can be made out of many different substances, although are most commonly concrete or stone-based.

Unlike decks, patios are always built directly on the ground (or pretty close), and, therefore, any kind of fencing or railing around them is rare.


So how does the distinction between a patio and a deck come in handy for homeowners? It helps people decide which type of outdoor area will go better with their home. A deck won’t go well with every home, and neither will a patio. You need to choose which one is right for your lifestyle and your home design.

Sometimes it has more to do with the design of your home and your personal aesthetic preference, however. For instance, some people have a sloped backyard or are living on a hill. In that case, building a deck is a much more logical solution, as it will create a level area for groups to gather, grill, and chill in. Building a patio directly on a slanted ground wouldn’t make much sense – just imagine trying to have a meal when the table isn’t flat!

On the other hand, the cost might be your first priority. If this is your situation, compare the various materials offered from both patios and decks. On average, patios are less expensive to build than decks are – but of course it ultimately depends on the size and the materials you use. Additionally, if you are building a patio, you might also be looking into some built-in features such as a fire pit, seating area, or barbeque. These features will, of course, drive the cost up. If you’re building a patio on uneven or sloped land, you also will need some extra cash to have the ground leveled off for the patio.

All in all, either choice is a great way to turn the backyard of your home into a space for socialization and relaxation. You can’t really go wrong with a deck or patio!

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